The Self-made Man

The Self-made Man



It is very popular in U.S. business to talk about the “self-made man.” The individual, who against all odds, entirely by himself, achieves great success.

Perhaps this image came out of the “old west,” when you picture a cowboy braving harsh weather, loneliness and rustlers but continues performing his job.

The modern-day lone hero, self-made man is probably John Wayne in a WWII movie, Sylvester Stallone as the invincible Rambo single-handly defeating an army of bad guys, or Clint Eastwood waiting for some dirtbag to make his day. It is an alluring, seductive image but one that AJT community is not in touch with reality.

Speak with any successful person, educator, doctor, business leader, or military officer. I am sure they will say that whatever success they enjoy could not have been attained without the love, care, support and encouragement of many others.

Certainly they worked hard and had great discipline, but they still owe much to others.

Whether we realize it or not, we all owe so much to so many. Oftentimes, people we do not even know have played important roles and have had a meaningful impact on our lives.

Think of the policeman who protects your neighborhoods, the fireman who puts out the fire before it endangers your home, the U.S. Soldier who protects our freedom or the IDF soldier who defends Israel, so that Israel can be an advocate for Jews worldwide.

Clearly we all owe a great deal to those who have been directly involved in our lives, the delivery doctor, aunts, uncles, teachers etc. In fact, by the time we become adults we owe so much to so many.

It’s only fair to conclude that after having been a recipient for so long we should now give back to society for all that we have received.

This giving back is as it should be. We all live interdependent lives, our happiness and success is a function of others; their happiness and success is a function of our efforts.

The classic self-made man was probably a lonely person with little enjoyment in life.

I have tried to think of some more articulate thoughts regarding this message, but I am at a loss for words. So I will conclude with this final comment, the message is simple, direct and profound.

Now that I think about it, even John Wayne had to be potty trained.

Al Shams is a Sandy Springs resident, a former CPA and an investment professional with more than 35 years industry experience.

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